Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Evil Query


When I ran NWN servers, there were players struggling with the concept of "evil." They really didn't know how to play evil characters. Basically, they polarized good and evil: evil characters killed anything and everything with wanton abandon; good characters didn't. That was it! What's missing? Well, character, for one thing.

Consider some "evil" characters (antagonists, perhaps) in any medium, and try to identify:

1) which one you liked best (or thought did the best/most convincing job of being evil);

2) what quality or qualities of this person made the character evil;

3) whether the character had any redeeming qualities;

and
4) whether the character was more convincing as the antagonist than the character who "played" the protagonist. (i.e., did you "like" the bad guy better?)

Also, if you're up for it, name your favorite bad guy actor/actress (or character).

6 Comments:

Anonymous elzandra said...

Hannibal Lecter.

Only Sir Anthony could do him justice.
I was horrified when I found myself quite attracted to the character, both in the book and movie.

Is it the danger, though, that makes such darkness attractive? The romance novel shelves are packed with Vampire love stories, although the male protaganists are usually misunderstood rather than truly malevolent. I have to admit that the Vampire Lestat is fairly interesting....

I had one evil DnD character, a barbarian, who used her succubus-like wiles to trap the puny human males into helping her in her nefarious practices. It was fun for a little while, but I kept missing my paladin.

So, I like to *be* good, but am attracted to either evil or power. What does that say about me?

Perhaps it is more about inherent evil vs. evil acts. Hannibal and Lestat are inherently evil, although they may perform good deeds. Vampires in romance novels are inherently good, yet commit evil acts.

Hmm..female evil. It is harder to find recent literature that depicts female evil in an understandable way. There is an underlying current of misogyny in many evil female characters. A possible exception would be the Forgotten Realms drow females; they are strong and dominating, but I haven't read enough to know if that is a positive thing or simply a plot vehicle.

In one of the Baldur's Gate games there was a female Drow who was a fairly good depiction of the nature of evil in character, but all of the others are evil stepmothers, evil sorceresses that kill the hero, etc, etc.

Another good question, Ayae!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:54:00 PM  
Blogger Psyae said...

From what I know, the Drow are a matriarchal society (based somewhat upon the black widow spider society), and therefore have a queen of sorts in dominance.

A similar situation exists in WoW, as a matter of fact, with Sylvanas, the not so undead ex-Elven current ruler of Lordaeron and "Queen" of the Foresaken. If you take the time to read some of the in-game books lying about, you'll discover she has quite an interesting history (hero turned villain).

As for the Anne Rice vampire novels, I found myself less attracted to Lestat at first, and more attracted to his counterpart, Louis. However, as Lestat "matured" as the series continued, I found him more and more flawed, which, of course, made him more human, and therefore identifiable.

Your comment circumnavigates the long-fought issue of whether humans are born evil or are bred to be so. Of course, certain religions impose beliefs in inherent sin (equated with evil), but philosophy has tossed around this conundrum for many years.

I, myself, have yet to make any sort of decision in the matter. Well, perhaps more precisely, I have decided that it really doesn't matter in the end, so why bother with it. My second stab at an answer would be that humans are born, and certain biological AND/OR behavioral factors may have deleterious effects, thus molding the human into something polite society cannot stand -- thus affixing the label "evil." Evil is subjective and relative.

Dare I ask could "good" exist without evil? Or the reverse? Nah, I shant go down that treacherous path.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 2:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmm..yummy topic today...here are so me more random thoughts to keep it going:

Are we born in sin? Or bred from glory?

Genetically and evolutionarily speaking, it's a crapshoot. You may have the abilities to overcome what life throws at you, you may not.

The best genes for the given situation win. And the evil or the glory comes from that; nothing more.

As for the nature of good and evil, it is a polarized idea. And like poles, you cannot have an anion without a cation somewhere. Positive/negative, on/off, black/white..it is all part of the essential binary.

For humans at least. I love to think about what other ideas and perceptions xenians from far away might have about the universe. Is binary intrinsic? A universal Law, so to speak?

Dang, I need to stop reading tech material. Study break time, and the download is only at 20%.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous elzandra said...

k

That was supposed to be from me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:07:00 PM  
Blogger Theodred said...

muttley

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Psyae said...

I know no one will read this, but felt I should add my own answer.

I favor Alan Rickman's character (Hans) in the first Die Hard movie. He's one of my fave actors anyway, and I think he does a great job portraying a bad guy with style.

Second to that... maybe Gary Oldman's "bad cop" character (Stansfield) in The Professional (or "Leon," with Natalie Portman and Jean Reno).

Friday, October 28, 2005 2:08:00 PM  

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